Conversations begin for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s next crew chief

Dale Earnhardt Jr. has two wins and nine top-five finishes heading into Sunday's Brickyard 400.

INDIANAPOLIS — Dale Earnhardt Jr. Doesn’t know who will be his crew chief next year, though he acknowledged Saturday there have been conversations.

“Everybody is talking a little bit,” Earnhardt said prior to qualifying at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “We haven’t really sat down in a room and got down to a real serious discussion about it.

“But I think the people involved in the decision-making have some great ideas, and the conversations are starting to happen, so we’ll see how that sort of works itself out.”.

Current crew chief Steve Letarte announced in February he would step down from his role at the end of 2014 to join NBC’s Sprint Cup Series broadcasts next year.

Earnhardt previously said he would rely on Hendrick Motorsports officials to come up with candidates for the crew chief job, since they were the wise ones who paired him with Letarte in the first place.

Despite having a lame-duck crew chief, Earnhardt is having one of his best seasons to date. He already has two wins — the most since 2004 — and his nine top-five finishes are one shy of tying his best in a decade.

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Earnhardt is second in the point standings heading Sunday’s Brickyard race.

“Just winning here alone would be tremendous,” he said. “This place just has so much history. … It’s just amazing what’s gone on here. I would love to win here and hope to be able to accomplish that at some point in my career.”.

Follow Gluck on Twitter @jeff_gluck.

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